Service Quality Gap Model
The gap model (also known as the "5 gaps model") of service quality is an important customer-satisfaction framework. In "A conceptual model of service quality and its implications for future research
" (The Journal of Marketing
, 1985), A. Parasuraman, VA Zeitham and LL Berry identify five major gaps that face organizations seeking to meet customer's expectations of the customer experience.
The five gaps that organizations should measure, manage and minimize:
- Gap 1 is the distance between what customers expect and what managers think they expect - Clearly survey research is a key way to narrow this gap.
- Gap 2 is between management perception and the actual specification of the customer experience - Managers need to make sure the organization is defining the level of service they believe is needed.
- Gap 3 is from the experience specification to the delivery of the experience - Managers need to audit the customer experience that their organization currently delivers in order to make sure it lives up to the spec.
- Gap 4 is the gap between the delivery of the customer experience and what is communicated to customers - All too often organizations exaggerate what will be provided to customers, or discuss the best case rather than the likely case, raising customer expectations and harming customer perceptions.
- Finally, Gap 5 is the gap between a customer's perception of the experience and the customer's expectation of the service - Customers' expectations have been shaped by word of mouth, their personal needs and their own past experiences. Routine transactional surveys after delivering the customer experience are important for an organization to measure customer perceptions of service.
Each gap in the customer experience can be closed through diligent attention from management. Survey software
can be key to assisting management with this crucial task.